Featured Club: Jodo Club
A huge part of EJCA is that it has so many diverse and exciting clubs and affiliated groups, suitable for all ages - and you may be interested to learn some more about them. So we have interviewed some of our leaders to tell us a bit more...
For this edition we have talked to Hideji Ono.
Q1: What is the official name of your club?
EJCA Jodo Club
Q2: In one sentence, how would you describe your club?
Our EJCA Jodo club provides Jodo practice twice a week at the EJCA Centre.
Q3: Can you tell us a bit about the history of your club? In what year was it started?
Our club started in 2017.
Q4: Are there any stories on how the club was established? (What was the original motivation or reasons that led to its creation? Perhaps there is any interesting background story the readers would be interested to learn?)
Originally? The truth is I needed someone to practice Jodo in Edmonton. When I asked the late Matsui shihan about my problem, he told me that he started a Jodo dojo in the Tokyo area, because he as well needed someone to practice Jodo. So - he encouraged me to start a Jodo dojo in Canada.
Q5: What is your club’s main focus? Please give us some insights into the purpose and activities your club offers.
First of all Jodo involves two weapons: Jo and Tachi. The Tachi person (Uchi) attacks and the Jo person (Shi) performs the techniques. We focus on the All Japan Kendo Federation 12 basic Jodo techniques and the 12 applied techniques (seitei kata). The principal purpose of practicing Jodo is to cultivate the spirit! Training basic and applied movements develops mental and spiritual strength.
Q6: How many members do you roughly have, and are you looking for new members?
Currently our Jodo club has 8 members. New members are always welcome.
Q7: Who is your 'target group'? Who should join you, and why? Are there any age restrictions?
Some people practice Jodo to maintain their health and body mobility. Some learn Jodo as a budo (Japanese martial art). Learning Jodo skills and techniques can build up mental strength, as well as physical strength of the body, and speed. Each person has their own learning objectives, therefore anyone can learn Jodo. However, currently our club does not have a children's class, instead we accept Junior High School students or older. The current club members are from ~15 to ~70 years old.
Q8: Are new club members expected to know or speak Japanese, or is being able to communicate in English sufficient?
We do use Japanese terms, but otherwise Japanese language is not required. Learning the Japanese terms is also useful if you later decide to participate in seminars or gradings.
Q9: Now let's talk about the cultural background of your club. How did your arts/sport/craft develop? What's the most fascinating thing about this today?
Jodo evolved from an old Japanese martial art called Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu that has been practiced in Japan for over 400 years.Of the current jodo forms (seitei kata) that we practice, most of them are modified Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu kata. Important to note: Jodo is not a sport.It is a budo (Japanese martial art). You can feel the 400 years of history of the Samurai developed Jojutsu. There are reasons for each movement and that fascinates me all the time.
Q10: In addition to what you’ve already provided, are there any fun facts or trivias about your club or the arts/craft/sport?
As I mentioned, Jodo consists of two components: the Tachi person (Uchi) attacks and the Jo person (Shi) manages the attack.i The attack -with a wooden sword (tachi) - is real. This means: If you do not move, you would get cut by the sword. The Jodo techniques and foot works (taisabaki) are designed to manage various sword attacks. If you are able to manage sword attacks, you can manage most of the attacks in your real life. That means that you are able to defend yourself from attacks without realizing it.
Q11: How do you usually engage/meet/train? How often and where do you meet? Who are the instructors or leaders?
We practice twice a week (Sunday 3 pm and Friday 7 pm) in the EJCA hall. We do not practice around long weekends.
I (Hideji Ono) am the instructor of the club, however, we have several senior students that can also give instructions as required.
Q12: Any feedback or testimonials from your existing (or previous) club members about the club? What stands out for them? Any recommendations? Do you have a few quotes for us?
“It is a very elegant, formal style of a martial art, that requires very little investment in equipment, but which you can practice for decades!”
“It’s very unique. Many may know Judo, or Kendo, but few will have heard about Jodo.”
“I think about it as a combination of geometry, body control and weapons’ mastery. Every degree and every inch counts, and with every opponent you need to adjust your speed, movement, agility again.”
“Jodo combines elegance, control, respect, precision - what looks so easy to begin with turns out to require years to understand and master.”
“The best about class is when Hideji explains the motivation behind the stylized, abstracted movements we practice. Slowly but steadily it begins to make sense, but there is always something new to figure out. The ‘devil’ is well-hidden in the many details…”
“It sounds so easy - 12 techniques and 12 kata - but each and every time you come to practice find a new aspect to improve.”
Q13: What is the 'next big exciting thing' you have planned for in 2023? Any highlights you are looking forward to?
We will have demonstrations at the Natsu Matsuri this summer at EJCA. In addition, Jodo seminars are held in Calgary, usually twice a year for grading.
Q14: As a club leader, what is a message you would like to get out to prospective members?
If you are interested in martial arts but don't know which one is best for you, then try it out. Our club accepts a tryout for free, and then if you are interested just try it for a month to get comfortable.
Q15: And lastly, how can people contact you for questions and/or to join? (A website or an email? Whom should they reach out to?)
We hope you enjoyed this and will consider getting in touch if you want to join or like to have more info. Please also see the latest updates and details on our individual clubs pages.